AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Richard Hamilton and the Detroit Pistons advanced without breaking a sweat.
Hamilton had a playoff-career high 40 points Wednesday night and the Pistons tied a franchise-playoff scoring record in the first quarter in a 122-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5.
Rasheed Wallace scored 22 points and keyed an 18-2 run after halftime for the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions, who won the best-of-seven series and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
Michael Redd of the Bucks scored just two points while Detroit pulled away with a dominating opening quarter in which they scored 39 points. He finished with 23.
Detroit coach Flip Saunders, in his first postseason with the Pistons, said before the game he would take advantage of any and all mismatches against Milwaukee.
Saunders had a lot of choices.
The Pistons clearly made an effort to get Hamilton involved early – as T.J. Ford attempted to defend him – and the shooting guard responded.
When the Bucks left Ford alone on Hamilton, he simply rose over the shorter guard for open jumpers. When Milwaukee tried to give Ford help, Hamilton found open teammates and they made shots.
Wallace made a 3-pointer – off Hamilton’s assist – to put the Pistons ahead for good midway through the first quarter. Those points were the first of 11 straight for Detroit, and sparked a 21-2 run that provided a cushion large enough to let the Pistons coast to the victory.
Hamilton had 15 points in the first quarter, putting the Pistons ahead 39-23.
Cavaliers 121, Wizards 120, OT
CLEVELAND – Like another No. 23 before him, LeBron James saved his finest moment for the biggest one.
James muscled through traffic and dropped in a layup with 0.9 seconds left in overtime as the Cleveland Cavaliers moved closer to the second round of the NBA playoffs with a 121-120 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
With the Cavs down by one, James, who finished with 45 points, took an inbounds pass with 3 seconds to go. After sliding past Antawn Jamison, James knifed inside of Michael Ruffin, Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood.
He rose in the lane and softly dropped in his layup, sending a sellout crowd of more than 20,000 into a frenzy.
Arenas, who matched James bucket for bucket and had 44 points, was way off with a desperation heave at the buzzer.